PHARMACY

Pfizer exonerated in part of Celebrex litigation

BY Drew Buono

SAN FRANCISCO U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco has ruled that plaintiffs in litigation against Pfizer over its painkiller Celebrex have not presented reliable scientific evidence to demonstrate that people taking 200 mg of the drug daily causes heart attacks or strokes, according to the WallStreetJournal.com.

There are more than 3,000 Celebrex plaintiffs, according to the ruling, but it isn’t clear as to how many this decision will affect. Paul Sizemore, a plaintiffs’ attorney with Girardi & Keese in Los Angeles, estimates that about 900 Celebrex cases involve plaintiffs who were prescribed the 200-milligram dose. However, he says, many of the plaintiffs took the drug twice a day.

New York plaintiffs’ lawyer Paul Pennock of Weitz & Luxenberg, which also handles Celebrex cases, estimates about two-thirds of the Celebrex cases will be unaffected by the ruling. But those involving 200-milligram dosages will be eliminated, he says.

“We are pleased with the decision of the federal court, which recognizes the lack of any credible evidence linking Celebrex, at its most common dosage form, with heart attacks or strokes,” Pfizer general counsel Allen Waxman said.

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PHARMACY

Celgene to acquire Pharmion for $72/share

BY Drew Buono

SUMMIT, N.J. Celgene and Pharmion have announced a merger agreement, under which Celgene has agreed to acquire Pharmion. Celgene will acquire all of Pharmion’s outstanding shares of common stock for $72 per share payable in cash and share of Celgene common stock.

Under the agreement, Celgene will acquire the rights to three popular Pharmion oncology drugs: Revlimid, Thalomid, and Vidaza. Thalmoid and Revlimid are used to treat patients with multiple myeloma. Vidaza is used to treat myelodysplastic syndromes.

“The acquisition of Pharmion is an exceptional strategic fit that will expand our role as a leader in hematology and oncology,” said Sol Barer, chairman and chief executive officer of Celgene Corporation. “Our combined global infrastructure will leverage the therapeutic and commercial potential of Pharmion’s products, particularly Vidaza, which has the potential to become a major global therapy. By bringing together the talents and resources of both companies, we move closer to our vision of becoming a leading hematology and oncology company in the world, expanding our industry leading programs for safety, access and patient support.”

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RxHub introduces Rx 4 Success e-prescribing program

BY Drew Buono

ST. PAUL, Minn. RxHub, a company that keeps track of patient-specific medication history and pharmacy benefit information, has announced a new product for e-prescribing, the Rx 4 Success.

The new program was developed to target four main areas of e-prescribing: utilization of Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services approved ePrescribing transactions including eligibility, formulary and benefits, and medication history. The program will also integrate true electronic delivery of prescriptions to retail and mail order pharmacies. It will also keep consistent rules-based applications of clinical decision support content and formulate transactional data to support the development of outcomes based on pay-for-performance programs.

“We are extremely proud to be associated with our growing roster of partners which includes many of the healthcare industry’s foremost technology innovators,” stated Doug Johnson, vice president of business development for technology partners at RxHub. “Their collective vision not only helped shape Rx 4 Success but provides the foundation for ongoing market driven performance analysis and improvement.”

Rx 4 Success will become a participation requirement for technology partners connected to the RxHub network as of July 31, 2008.

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